Plan early – While you have capacity, you should get your affairs in order and choose the best people to manage your affairs, in case of an accident or illness. You cannot appoint an Attorney once mental capacity is lost.
Choose carefully – Think carefully who to appoint as your Attorney. Have an open conversation with them so they understand your wishes and their responsibilities. Consider appointing more than one attorney so they can share the responsibility.
Appoint a professional – A family member might not be the best person to act as your Attorney. Instead, you can appoint a Solicitor or other professional. They could be a neutral third party to make unbiased decisions in your best interests. Bear in mind this usually involves a cost.
Think about different circumstances – How you would like your Attorney to manage your finances in different situations? Are you happy for your property to be sold to pay for your care for example?
Difficult questions – Your Attorney might have to make difficult decisions about your health and welfare. If you have specific wishes about your care, medical treatment, or end of life wishes, you should discuss this with them and make your choices clear.
Seek professional advice – Shop-bought and online LPA kits may be suitable for those with very straightforward financial situations or with considerable legal experience, but for most people, seeking professional legal advice is the best way of ensuring that an LPA is effective, legally robust and safe.
Keep your plans current – Make sure you keep your LPA updated if your circumstances change. Your choices around the people you want responsible for your finances and wellbeing may change, such as following a marriage or divorce, when children reach adulthood, or if parents pass away.
By a Financial LPA you appoint Attorneys to look after your financial affairs if you are not able to do so yourself due to a lack of physical or mental capacity. By a Health and Welfare LPA you appoint Attorneys to make decisions for you about where you live, who sees you and what medical treatment or care you receive if you cannot make those decisions yourself because you do not have mental capacity.
No-one knows what the future holds and it’s often hard to think about a time when you may need to select someone to manage your personal affairs. Nevertheless, planning ahead for such a situation can save a lot of issues later on. Please contact a member of our Private Client team to discuss how you can put an LPA in place.